"Youth needs the church, and the church needs youth"

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"Youth needs the church, and the church needs youth"

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Dick Dayton's picture
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Family Focus

Some years ago, I was introduced to a book called "Family Based Youth Ministry" whose basic tenant was that we need to minsiter to the whole family, and that we should not isolate the youth from the rest of the church. One interesting study they mentioned was to look at who was in church in their adult years. It was not the teens who were constantly entertained or catered to, but the ones who had worshipped with their families. Teens unquestionably have special needs, being in between childhood and adulthood. A good teen ministry will recognize their unique situations, but also recognize they have most of the same spiritual needs as the rest of us, and need to be integrated into the life of the church.
Another interesting study the book mentioned was a study of National Merit scholars. They were looking for common factors, and found that it was not socioeconomic. The factor they found was that those families ate dinner together. We need to provide daily connection times, especially in our hurried and harried society.
In our church, we do have a teen Sunday School class and a weekday youth group, along with regularly scheduled special activities. We have a younger and a more matrue couple working with the teens, so that they get a balance and variety. We also involve them in the ministries of the church, so they feel like they are a meaningful part of our family.
Part of "making disciples" is to train and involve our youth. Their maturity and spiritual growth should be the goal of our ministry to them.

Dick Dayton

Paul J's picture
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Tue, 10/25/11
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Free Book today

Related to this topic, David Kinnaman's book "You Lost Me" is a free download for your eReader today at Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/You-Lost-Me-ebook/dp/B005LOPNRU/ref=sr_1_1?s=digit...

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Cause and Effect

Dick Dayton wrote:
Some years ago, I was introduced to a book called "Family Based Youth Ministry" whose basic tenant was that we need to minsiter to the whole family, and that we should not isolate the youth from the rest of the church. One interesting study they mentioned was to look at who was in church in their adult years. It was not the teens who were constantly entertained or catered to, but the ones who had worshipped with their families.

I'm skeptical of some of these studies. This sounds well and good, but you could just as easily say "It was not the teens who were playing video games." Is there a connection between Youth Ministry and the dropouts? There is a right way and a wrong way to do youth ministry but I don't think having a youth ministry is the cause of teens dropping out of church. I know you weren't doing that (as evidenced by your youth group), but it sounds like the study was.

Susan R's picture
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Parental involvement

Numerous studies have been done that indicate parental involvement is pivotal to academic success. Why wouldn't that be true for spiritual health and maturity? I agree that studies can only do so much, but the importance of the parent/child relationship, and the model of mentoring is pretty clear in Scripture. We shouldn't need studies for that.

I don't think it's the presence of a youth program that is a problem, but kid/youth programs that are scheduled at the same time as regular services. The author of the post in the OP is concerned that churches don't include youth as part of regular worship, baptism services, and sometimes even observance of the Lord's Supper. And if youth programs are shallow and entertainment oriented, young people are in for a rude awakening when they start taking part in 'adult' services. Although I've seen some adult services that had me looking around for http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statler_and_Waldorf ]Statler and Waldorf .

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I agree

Susan I agree with you because I think you are making my point. Parental involvement is a major contributor to the child's Christian walk, but one hour a week with youth shouldn't make or break the child's spiritual longevity. The youth program can and should assist the parent with what they should already be doing in the home. I'm not a proponent of pulling the kids out for every service, but having their own time on a Wednesday night, for example, really shouldn't be a problem. In fact, it can be a tremendous benefit. Not all youth programs are shallow and entertainment oriented. I can't argue against a program that takes the kids deep into Scripture and challenges them in the specific areas which they deal with every day. Once again, pulling them out of every service would be a problem, but once a week shouldn't be. Of course, this is my opinion and that isn't always worth much!!!

Ricky

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Once a week

I don't think the author of the OP is concerned about a once-a-week YG meeting, but about kids as a general rule not sharing worship services with parents, especially those involving seeing people baptized, or sharing the Lord's Supper. There are churches like this- we've visited a couple churches where we were never together for a service of any kind, nor any church activities.

In my experience, youth programs that are deep and challenging are few and far between. So again- it isn't merely the existence of classes for youth, but the dearth of sober, Scripture-centered classes that is a problem.

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RickyHorton wrote: Susan I

RickyHorton wrote:
Susan I agree with you because I think you are making my point. Parental involvement is a major contributor to the child's Christian walk, but one hour a week with youth shouldn't make or break the child's spiritual longevity. The youth program can and should assist the parent with what they should already be doing in the home. I'm not a proponent of pulling the kids out for every service, but having their own time on a Wednesday night, for example, really shouldn't be a problem. In fact, it can be a tremendous benefit. Not all youth programs are shallow and entertainment oriented. I can't argue against a program that takes the kids deep into Scripture and challenges them in the specific areas which they deal with every day. Once again, pulling them out of every service would be a problem, but once a week shouldn't be. Of course, this is my opinion and that isn't always worth much!!!

Ricky

Ricky, this good type of youth group that you describe is what I experienced. Even today, I remember messages and principles learned under the ministry of 2 excellent youth pastors, and multiple youth workers.